Olivia Mehaffey has set herself up nicely after a strong opening round at the First Stage of the Ladies European Tour Q-School in La Manga, Spain.
The Tandragee woman fired a two-under 71 on the South Course to sit in a share of third after the first day, comfortably inside the top-75 and ties that progress to next week’s Final Stage.
Playing only a week after the passing of her father Philip, Mehaffey mixed six birdies with two bogeys and a double in her first round in her bid to earn playing rights both in Europe and Stateside.
Already in possession of limited status on the second-tier Symetra Tour in the USA after missing out at LPGA Tour Q-School, the 24-year-old will be keen to give herself as many options next season as she tries to achieve her ultimate goal of earning an LPGA Tour card.
It looked like she might be in trouble early in La Manga when, having teed off at the 10th, she double-bogeyed her second hole of the day, the 11th, but Mehaffey’s class showed through as she quickly bounced back with birdies at 12 and 13.
Birdies at the 16th and, after the turn, the second got her under-par for the first time and, although she dropped a shot at the par-three fifth, back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh had her one shot off the lead.
However, a disappointing bogey on the eighth meant she had to settle for a 71, but Mehaffey will not be too upset given she is well inside the required number to move on to next week as it stands.
As it stands, Clandeboye’s Victoria Craig is also set to move on to the next stage at this early stage, however she is right on the cut mark in a share of 71st after a four-over 75 on the North Course in her opening round.
The 24-year-old – who has played predominantly on the LET Access Series in her career – struggled early, dropping four shots in her opening 10 holes before finally getting a red number on the card with a birdie at the par-five 12th, and she would add another at the other par-five on the back nine, the 15th.
However, two more bogeys at the 14th and 17th dropped Craig back down towards the cut line and she will know three more good rounds will be required to keep her hopes alive for another week.
Sweden’s Lisa Pettersson is top of the leaderboard after the opening round as she carded five birdies and one bogey in a four-under 67 on the North Course, holding a one-shot lead over French amateur Yvie Chaucheprat, whose three-under 70 was the best round of the day on the South.
All players will switch courses for day two, with Mehaffey heading for the North on Friday and Craig taking to the South.
- Live second round scoring HERE